This year was the final year the Symbiosis Gathering would convene at Woodward Reservoir in Oakdale, Calif. The venue is easily accessible from the Bay Area – only a 1 and a half hour trek to the campgrounds. The 11th year of Symbiosis Gathering proved to be as life-changing per usual. The reservoir provides breathtaking scenery (think sunsets and reflective lakes), art installations, music to move the crowd, and moments waiting to be transpired. The 5-day outdoor adventure included music, arts, theater arts, dance and this year, a hefty yoga itinerary. Over 15,000 attendees made their way to the event with one purpose, to live the life they truly want.

Symbiosis Gathering is inspired by Burning Man and has been compared to Lightning in a Bottle festivals. The event encourages expression, sustainability and personal development. Symbiosis Gathering was created by Bosque Hrbek in an effort to “bring together a bunch of different types of people that may not exactly like the same type of music or same style of art but have the same principles. While I was traveling around the world, and meeting lots of different people who [have] completely different styles, completely different tastes in everything, but there’s a common thread of… how people care about the planet, people care about each other. Their kind, progressive, and just trying to get those friends together in one place, and see how those cultures or those counter cultures, work together symbiotically.”

This year the Symbiosis yoga menu offered an Elemental Alchemy yoga intensive that ran 5 days prior to the start of the event on September 22, 2016. Over 20 yoga and wellness instructors from around the nation joined forces to bring a transformative itinerary to the participants. The yoga experience was held in the Shala Annex and Movement Shala tents.

During the event, yoga and movement classes were offered throughout the day. Students laid their mats out and practiced with teachers that were invited to teach at the event. Some of our favorites were Saul David Raye, Namastdave, Tony G., Suzanne Sterling and Shawni Birds. Each teacher offered a different approach to the ancient practice. Classes coincided with performances, but there was never a lack of yoga at Symbiosis Gathering.

Music could be found anywhere and everywhere at the festival. Over 100 musicians spread their talent and love to the attendees. Even campers set up their own DJ sets and provided music throughout the campgrounds into the late evening. Within the festival, artists such as Beats Antique, FKA Twigs, Gramatik, RL Grime, Oh Wonder, Santigold, Random Rab, Mimosa and Antennae made their appearances on the sustainable stages.

One of the most inspiring aspects of this event was the children of Symbiosis. The festival produced Kidzbiosis, an extensive festival program for children and their families. Parents introduced their children to the freedom of self-expression and progressive thought that bring to light the effects of consumerism and materialism of the modern day life. Transformational festivals are not only about reveling in the present but also building a brighter future for both adults and children.

michelle renee harrison yoga symbiosis gathering quote[su_quote cite=”Michelle H.”]My favorite part of Symbiosis this year was the energy emitted by all of the beautiful people there. Everyone was committed not only to having a good time themselves, but also to enhancing the experience of else in attendance with kindness, love, and radical acceptance. In a world where people often separate themselves, this festival certainly lived up to its name.[/su_quote]

Only days after the event, the crew broke down the sets to get ready for their next event in Oregon. In 2017, the Symbiosis Gathering will meet again during the solar eclipse in Mount Hood, Oregon. We look forward to practicing and learning with the beautiful Symbiosis community again!

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